|Illustration of short-eared dog|
|Short-eared dog range|
The short-eared dog (Atelocynus microtis), also known as the short-eared zorro and small-eared dog, is a unique and elusive canid species endemic to the Amazonian basin. This is the only species assigned to the genus Atelocynus.
It has many names in the local languages where it is endemic, such as: cachorro-do-mato-de-orelha-curta in Portuguese, zorro de oreja corta in Spanish, nomensarixi in the Chiquitano language, and uálaca in Yucuna. Other names in Spanish are zorro ojizarco, zorro sabanero, zorro negro.
Evolution and systematics
After the formation of the Isthmus of Panama in the latter part the Tertiary (about 2.5 million years ago in the Pliocene), canids migrated from North America to the southern continent as part of the Great American Interchange. The short-eared dog's ancestors adapted to life in tropical rainforests, developing the requisite morphological and anatomical features. Apart from its superficial resemblance to the bush dog, the short-eared dog seems not to be closely related to any fox-like or wolf-like canid. It is one of the most unusual canids.
Two subspecies of this canid are recognized:
- A. m. microtis
- A. m. sclateri
Occurrence and environment
The short-eared dog can be found in the Amazon rainforest region of South America (in Peru, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and possibly Venezuela). There is a single report of "three slender, doglike animals" of this species sighted in the Darien region of Panama in 1984 by German biologist Sigi Weisel and a native Embera nation Panamanian; this rare species' presence in Panama is possible because of "the continuous mass of forest habitat that covers this region". It lives in various parts of the rainforest environment, preferring areas with little human disturbance. It lives in both lowland forests known as Selva Amazónica and terra firme forest, as well as in swamp forest, stands of bamboo, and cloud forest. It is a solitary animal and prefers moving in trees away from human and other animal interactions.
The short-eared dog has short and slender limbs with short and rounded ears. It has a distinctive fox-like muzzle and bushy tail. It ranges from dark to reddish-grey, but can also be nearly navy blue, coffee brown, dark grey, or chestnut-grey to black, and the coat is short, with thick and bristly fur. Its paws are partly webbed, owing to its partly aquatic habitat.
It moves with feline lightness unparalleled among the other canids. It has a somewhat narrow chest, with dark color variation on the thorax merging to brighter, more reddish tones on the abdominal side of the body.
This wild dog is mainly a carnivore, with fish, insects, and small mammals making up the majority of its diet. An investigation led in Cocha Cashu Biological Station in Peru into the proportions of different kinds of food in this animal's diet produced the following results: fish 28%, insects 17%, small mammals 13%, various fruits 10%, birds 10%, crabs 10%, frogs 4%, reptiles 3%.
Reproduction and behavior
This species has some unique behaviors not typical to other canids. Females of this species are about one-third larger than males. The excited male sprays a musk produced by the tail glands. It prefers a solitary lifestyle, in forest areas. It avoids humans in the natural environment. Agitated males raise the hairs on their backs.
Threats, survival, and ecological concerns
Feral dogs pose a prominent threat to the population of short-eared dogs, as they facilitate the spread of diseases such as canine distemper and rabies to the wild population. Humans also contribute to their extermination by degradation of the species' natural habitat and the destruction of tropical rainforests.
Status of conservation
|Wikispecies has information related to Atelocynus|
- Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M (eds.). Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 532–628. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494.
- Leite-Pitman, M.R.P. & Williams, R.S.R. (2011). "Atelocynus microtis". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2011: e.T6924A12814890. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-2.RLTS.T6924A12814890.en.
- de la Rosa, Carlos L.; and Nocke, Claudia. A Guide to the Carnivores of Central America: Natural History, Ecology, and Conservation. Austin: University of Texas Press; 2000. Accessed on November 4, 2015 at: https://books.google.com/books?id=x5ihAwAAQBAJ&pg=PT292&lpg=PT292&dq=bush+dog+central+america&source=bl&ots=yUIbt476FL&sig=c50Gn5E--FqYOvjfOEMqUzCIDnM&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0CEQQ6AEwCWoVChMI3Mmbn5z3yAIVgRk-Ch330A__#v=onepage&q=bush%20dog%20central%20america&f=false
- (R. Burton; International Wildlife Encyclopedia, 2002).
- "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-02-16. Retrieved 2012-02-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Atelocynus microtis (Short-eared Dog, Short-eared Fox, Small-eared Dog, Small-eared Zorro)". redlist.org. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- Giaimo, Cara (2020-05-04). "The Ghost Dogs of the Amazon Get a Bit Less Mysterious". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-05-13.
- "ADW: Atelocynus microtis: Information". animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu. Retrieved 2015-10-05.
- ebcc Archived 2012-10-16 at the Wayback Machine
- M.R.P Leite Pitman and R.S.R. Williams. Short-eared dog;Atelocynus microtis (Sclater, 1883).C-S. Zubiri, M. Hoffmann and D. W. Macdonald. Canids: Foxes, Wolves, Jackals and Dogs - 2004 Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN Publications Services Unit, 219c Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0DL, United Kingdom, 2004.
- Alderton, David. Foxes, Wolves and Wild Dogs of the World. Blandford Press: United Kingdom, 1998.
- Nowak, Ronald. Walker's Carnivores of the World. The Johns Hopkins University Press: Baltimore, 2005.
- IUCN/SSC Canid Specialist Group: Small Eared Zorro
- Ecology and conservation of the short-eared dog by WildCru
- Studies with a tame short-eared dog by Maria Renata Leite
- Atelocynus microtis Research and Conservation by M. R. Pitman Leite
- PHOTOS: Short-Eared Dog Caught in Camera Trap
- on YouTube
- Short haired Dog Video 25 May 2014 National Geographic